San Francisco Supervisors approve health warning on soda advertising


SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — San Francisco supervisors have approved three proposals that take aim at sodas and other sugary drinks.

The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday on a trio of measures intended to curb soda consumption, just seven months after voters killed a proposed tax on sweetened beverages at the ballot.

The “Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Warning Ordinance” would require health warnings on advertising within city limits — on billboards, walls, the sides of cabs and buses. Soda cans and bottles would not be required to carry the warning.

That ordinance, penned by Supervisor Scott Wiener, passed unanimously.

Wiener took to Twitter to celebrate the approval.

Another proposal before the supervisors would prohibit soda ads on city-owned property, much like San Francisco does with tobacco and alcohol. That ordinance also passed unanimously.

A third proposed measure would prohibit city funds from being used to buy soda or other sugar-sweetened drinks. The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to pass that ordinance as well.

“This is a very important step forward in terms of setting strong public policy around the need to reduce consumption of sugary drinks; they are making people sick, they’re helping fuel the explosion of Type 2 diabetes and other health problems in adults and in children,” says Supervisor Scott Wiener.

Roger Salazar, a spokesman for CalBev, the state’s beverage association, said, “It’s unfortunate the Board of Supervisors is choosing the politically expedient route of scapegoating instead of finding a genuine and comprehensive solution to the complex issues of obesity and diabetes.”

Ryan Brooks, spokesman for Outfront Media, says it’s not fair to single out billboards while exempting newspapers and magazines. The company has about 300 billboards and wall spaces that would be affected.

“It’s all these people who are telling me how to live my life and raise my children. I make that decision, not a bunch of elected officials,” he says. “Let’s fix the homeless issue, let’s fix potholes before you start telling me how to live my life.”

Mayor Ed Lee hasn’t taken a position on the three proposals but said through a spokeswoman that he is open to educating people through warning labels on advertisements.

More than 30 of children and teens in San Francisco are overweight or obese, according to a 2012 study by the California Center for Public Health Advocacy and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. That figure is lower than Los Angeles, San Jose and Sacramento.

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